Who's plugging away 

The Who
Conseco Fieldhouse
Tuesday, March 6, 7:30 p.m., $53.50-$129

Back when its members were in their prime, The Who was the undisputed oddball in the British rock scene. Enamored more with R&B and surf than the blues and old-time rock and roll its comrades worshipped, The Who immediately stood apart from the crowd. It flexed its creative juices by inventing the rock opera on A Quick One (While He’s Away) and, later, expanded the concept into the classic masterpiece Tommy.

Live, The Who was unstoppable at its best and devastating at its worst. With Keith Moon providing a manic drum style and the iconic John Entwistle forced to turn the bass into a lead instrument to stay atop the clamor, the front duo of Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend took their respective roles as lead singer and lead guitarist/songwriter to new extremes. Townshend was the original unhinged guitarist, as apt to destroy his rig as to play a stunning solo, and he had his perfect foil in Daltrey, a singer who looked like he’d as soon beat your ass as sing a song for you.

Despite the deaths of Moon and Entwistle, and despite many break-ups and reunions, Townshend and Daltrey have soldiered on. Who else could have released a rock mini-opera in 2006 and supported it with a sold-out worldwide tour of arenas?

Yeah, The Who’s coming to town. With Zak Starkey (son of Ringo), who grew up on Moon’s knee, behind the drum kit and the capable Pino Palladino filling Entwistle’s shoes, this promises to be one of the best shows of the still young year. The highlight will be the classics, from “Substitute” to “My Generation” to “You Better You Bet” done by a version of The Who as strong as any since Moon’s demise. This is one show you simply have to see. Period.

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